UCLA Baseball ranked No. 3 by Coll

From UCLA:

TUCSON, Ariz. – UCLA has been ranked No. 3 in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason top-40 poll, the weekly newspaper announced on Monday. The Bruins will play 22 of their 56 games against preseason top-40 teams and 49 games against teams that are ranked or receiving votes in the poll.

After advancing to the finals of the College World Series for the first time in program history last June, the Bruins enter the 2011 season returning 20 letterwinners, including two weekend starting pitchers (Trevor Bauer, Gerrit Cole) and six position players who started in at least 40 ballgames (Beau Amaral, Dean Espy, Cody Keefer, Tyler Rahmatulla, Cody Regis, Steve Rodriguez).

Bauer and Cole were named preseason first-team All-Americans by Collegiate Baseball last week. Bauer led the nation with 165 strikeouts in 2010, and Cole finished third in that category with 153 punchouts.

UCLA, which established a program single-season high with 51 victories last year, is among seven Pac-10 programs listed in Collegiate Baseball’s top-40 poll. Oregon (No. 9) and Stanford (No. 10) join the Bruins among preseason top-10 teams. Other Pac-10 teams in the top-40 poll include Arizona State (No. 11), Arizona (No. 22), Washington State (No. 31) and California (No. 33). Oregon State, USC and Washington are among other teams receiving votes in the preseason poll.

Collegiate Baseball has tabbed TCU as its preseason No. 1 selection and Florida as the No. 2 team. Rounding out the top 10 selections, after No. 3 UCLA, include Clemson, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Oregon and Stanford, respectively.

The Bruins defeated Florida, 11-3, in both teams’ opening game at the 2010 College World Series. UCLA followed its victory over Florida by winning two of three games against TCU to advance to the CWS finals.

Last season, UCLA opened the season ranked in three of the five major college baseball polls (No. 20 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 23 by Baseball America and No. 27 by the NCBWA; unranked by Rivals.com and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll). The Bruins finished the year ranked No. 2 by all five polls as the runner-up at the College World Series.

The Bruins last opened a season ranked as high as No. 3 in 2008. That year, UCLA was ranked No. 1 in Baseball America’s preseason poll.

UCLA opens the season with a three-game series against San Francisco, beginning Friday, Feb. 18. Game time at UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium is 6 p.m.

COLLEGIATE BASEBALL’S PRESEASON TOP-40 POLL

Rank Team 2010 Record Points

1 TCU 54-14 495
2 Florida 47-17 494
3 UCLA 51-17 493
4 Clemson 45-25 489
5 Vanderbilt 46-20 486
6 Oklahoma 50-18 483
7 Texas 50-13 481
8 Texas A&M 43-21-1 480
9 Oregon 40-24 479
10 Stanford 31-25 474
11 Arizona State 52-10 473
12 Cal State Fullerton 46-18 470
13 Florida State 48-20 469
14 South Carolina 54-16 467
15 LSU 41-22 465
16 Connecticut 48-16 462
17 Virginia 51-14 457
18 Miami 43-20 455
19 Georgia Tech 47-15 454
20 Louisville 50-14 451
21 Rice 40-23 450
22 Arizona 34-24 445
23 Wichita State 41-19 443
24 Coastal Carolina 55-10 440
25 Auburn 43-21 437
26 St. John’s 43-20 435
27 North Carolina 38-32 434
28 San Diego 37-22 427
29 Fresno State 38-25 426
30 Pittsburgh 38-18 425
31 Washington State 37-22 422
32 Arkansas 43-21 418
33 California 29-25 417
34 UC Irvine 39-21 414
35 College of Charleston 44-19 494
36 Florida Atlantic 37-24 409
37 Kansas State 37-22 407
38 Hawaii 35-28 402
39 Baylor 36-24 401
40 Kent State 39-25 398

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